Proverbs 22:9

ESV Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
NIV The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
NASB One who is generous will be blessed, Because he gives some of his food to the poor.
CSB A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.
NLT Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.
KJV He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

What does Proverbs 22:9 mean?

This proverb uses a Hebrew figure of speech which literally refers to someone as "good in the eye." The phrase is often translated into English using expressions such as "generous" or "bountiful." Such qualities are directly opposed to phrases such as "evil in the eye" as seen in other verses (Proverbs 23:6). A person who is "good in the eye" sincerely seeks the good of others; they actively look for ways to help. This proverb directly connects this attitude with actions: we know such a person has a "good eye" because we see them sharing with those less fortunate.

The word "poor" identifies the feeble, weak, and helpless. Some look upon poor or disadvantaged people as targets for abuse (Proverbs 22:16, 22). The person with "a bountiful eye" looks on the poor compassionately and responds with kindness.

In Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan, a priest and a Levite looked at a man who was robbed and beaten and left half dead; they passed by on the other side of the road. Those two men lacked "good eyes." The Good Samaritan looked on the wounded man with compassion, went to him, and tended to his wounds. But he did even more; he transported the victim to an inn and provided for all his care (Luke 10:25–35).
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